A Burning Desire to Create - Maine College of Art

Ling‐Wen Tsai

I believe that identities are deeply rooted in cultural perspective.

Associate Professor of Sculpture and Digital Media at MECA, Ling‐Wen Tsai’s career began with a degree in nursing from Chung‐Shan Medical College in Taiwan, where she spent her first 25 years. Art was her true calling, however, and her traditional parents were unable to quell her “burning desire to create.” After earning her BA in studio art from Webster University and her MFA in Sculpture from Washington University, her work as an artist began to flourish.  She often integrates sound/music and body/movement into her artistic practice, which includes performance, installation and collaboration. She has worked with Israeli composer Lior Navok, sound artist Tracey Cockrell, and musicians George Winston and Nathan Kolosko, among others.  In 2003 she was Artist‐in‐Residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.

Her early work, such as “Made in Taiwan” and “Ling‐Wen, Asian Friend of Barbie” focused upon personal struggles, stereotypes and feelings of misplacement, but her recent work has grown both more introspective and immersive as she strives to create experiences that allow time and space for the viewer to actively engage with their own seeing and listening.  Her work has been internationally exhibited and work from her collaborative video series water & wind, with Nathan Kolosko, have been exhibited at venues from Portland to Portugal.

About her work she has said, “I believe that identities are deeply rooted in cultural perspectives, although I might not be always conscious of it. The migration, the changing of the time and my locale make me more aware of the origin and essence of the individual’s existence. The essential qualities of different cultures, art forms and materials, and reinterpreting them by blurring their boundaries and expanding their properties have engaged the internal space of mine.”

Ling-Wen’s Website